Showing a friend around London is a bit like watching your favorite movie with a friend for the first time — you constantly have one eye on them — “Will they like this part?” — but are also surprised on what they pick up that you’ve never noticed (like London’s weird postal boxes and the palm trees on your street). It’s almost like seeing it again for the first time. Last week I played tourist in my own city, walking more than I’ve ever walked before, and often in the soul-crushing rain. Oh, the rain. “Soul-crushing” isn’t a strong enough word for it. On Sunday (17 March) when my friend arrived it rained non-stop, but I was prepared for it. I wore my rain boots to Heathrow and never took them off. But then Monday the forecast said it might not rain, so I chanced it. In fact, I basically asked for it because I brought my sunglasses and wore ballet flats. I think you can guess how that went — by 4 o’clock I was standing in the bathroom at Fortnum and Mason with paper towels in my shoes, hating everyone and everything.
Then we got tea. Beautiful, fancy, delicious overpriced tea.
And gluten-free scones. I don’t eat a lot of scones — especially gluten-free ones — but these were the best scones I have ever had. (And the jam! And the clotted cream!)
I drank an entire beautiful, fancy pot. I’m used to a cuppa or two, but this had to equate to at least five cups. The caffeine hit me hard, in the best way possible. Instead of hating everyone and everything, EVERYTHING WAS BEAUTIFUL. Even the rain! And the tourists in the rain! And Big Ben! And the buses! And let’s sit in the front of the double decker bus and go into the deep south of London for gluten-free fish and chips! Because rain is fish and chips weather, and we probably needed greasy food to soak up some of the tea.
I took many a photo during our escapades, which I’m only now starting to sort through. I’ll post more photos over the next week or two (including a post about why you should and should not attempt to see all of Paris in 11 hours), but until then, I’ll leave you with this, which I have not edited or manipulated in any way:
You can say Paris is dirty, crowded and overrun with tourists, but you can’t say it’s not beautiful.